Recently Sina had started to charge fees for services that are free for most Chinese websites. They are going to start putting advertising on their blogs. They are starting to charge for European soccers. They are starting to monetize for legal music download. Now, on 9/21/2007, they are going to start charging people for viewing e-books and e-novels. See the following link:
The link to Sina books is as follows:
On the top part, there are two links, one goes to the free books and another one goes to the books that requires fee. If one clicks the link that goes to the free books section, one would get the following:
As you can see, there are 33419 books that are free to be viewed. Another interesting point can be drawn is that most of the most popular books in this section are the erotic books. The most popular free book has 171.992900 million clicks.
If one click on the link that goes to the books requires fee, one would get the following:
There are 178 books that only paying members can read. At this point, since Sina just started this service, there aren’t large numbers of title yet. Most of the titles in this section are Chinese KuFu novels. The most popular title has 4.848329 million clicks.
At this point, I don’t think Sina will make much out of this service.
It is interesting to see that Sina is going against the common perceptions. E-books, Songs, and videos (European Soccers) are easily pirated product. Sina seems to make a calculated decision that the time is right to go against the established trend.